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The case for Mini Vacations

For Europeans, mini vacations are practically a sport. We’re generalizing here, of course, but we’re in awe of the way Londoners “pop down to the continent” for a weekend. We envy that Parisians jet over to the Swiss Alps for two days, and then they’re back at work on Monday, blissfully wind-burned and refreshed. We swoon over the way Austrians hop on a night train to the south of France, get a tan, drink some wine, and come home in time to feed the cats.

Americans, it’s time to embrace the mini-vacation.

Somewhere along the way, we got it into our heads that a “vacation” means piling the whole family into the car and road tripping across the country, stopping at every historical marker along the way. We think it means splurging to bring the whole family to Disneyworld for a week, or taking a once-in-a-lifetime Mediterranean cruise.

The problems with this type of vacation:

·         It’s expensive.

·         It requires time away from school, work, sports, and other obligations.

Because of those two reasons, Americans travel far less than we should. We’re so all-or-nothing about vacation culture in America that most of our vacations end up as bucket list items that never become reality.

Let’s start thinking like Europeans.

Let’s embrace the weekend getaway. Let’s revel in a last-minute plan. Let’s be in a cubicle one minute and fully on vacation an hour or two later.

These little “sips” of vacation sustain us throughout the year much more than a big vacation every few years—and they don’t have to replace the big vacation. That’s because mini-vacations, by their very definition, don’t necessarily require time off, and they don’t even have to require an expensive plane ride.

Book a weekend in a lodge a couple of hours from home.

Book a night or two at a hotel in your very own city and become a tourist in your very own hometown.

Whatever you do, the important thing is that you do it. The tiny vacation you do take will always be better than the once-in-a-lifetime trip you never get around to taking.